I have two young boys, an 8-year-old, Reid, and a 6-year-old, Christian. We actually had my oldest son’s birthday party at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles play, this year. He was turning eight. We got a chance to tour the locker room with all of his friends. I bleed Eagles green and there was buzz around the team this year. He and I went to a game too. On the tour, he wore his little Carson Wentz jersey.
When Wentz got hurt, my boys got a little bit emotional. They were like, “I can’t believe this happened. We’re not going to win the Super Bowl this year.” And here I am, their dad, and I’m used to this because we’d never won a Super Bowl. Both of my boys go to a Catholic school, and my youngest son said, “Dad, I’ll say a prayer for Carson Wentz and the Eagles so that he’ll get better and they’ll win the Super Bowl.”
I work at the American Red Cross and I know there are bigger issues than a football game. But the point and the gesture was kind, and I appreciated that. And then, the Eagles made the playoffs. The buzz came back.
For the first playoff game against Atlanta, we watched the game with friends of ours who have two boys. Our boys play on the same basketball team with them. To see the four little kids jumping around all in Eagles gear was exciting.
The NFC championship game was a home game. We got an Eagles cake, chicken fingers for the boys, pizza. We sent them to bed a little bit before the first half ended. I went out to the store that night and I got an Eagles flag. I put it out on the garage, so when the boys woke up in the morning, and they left to go to school, they would see the Eagles flag flying outside of the house.
My boys play other sports, but football is by far the sport that they follow the most. We watched every game every week. If it was a late game, I’d DVR it so we’d be able to watch it together the next day or I’d give them a game recap every morning after the late games.
The Thursday before the Super Bowl, I got a phone call from someone and they invited me to the game. I turned to my wife and I was like, “We can do this.” We really thought about it. The last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl, I was actually in the military, so I wasn’t home. I thought about it, and I thought, if I go out to Minnesota and they win, I’ll be with all these people I don’t know in the stadium. If I stay home and watch the game with my boys, I’m going to have a moment that I never got with my dad.
I called my friend and said, “I’m very grateful for the offer, but I think I’m going to stay home and watch the game with my boys because if they win, that’s a moment that I’ll never be able to recreate: the first time the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl.”
We’re very superstitious, so my dad didn’t watch the game with us. He watched the game at home with my mom. I don’t want to say Eagles fans are creatures of habit, but if it works the week before, you want to stick to what worked. So we tried not to change anything too much.
When Zac Ertz scored the touchdown, we were on our feet. We were celebrating. We were having a good time. But that key moment — when Brandon Graham made the sack, and the Tom Brady dropped the ball and we got it back — I literally leaped out of my chair with my arms up in the air and I shouted, “Yes, we’re gonna win the Super Bowl!” I dropped to the ground on my knees and at that moment, my two boys tackled me onto the ground, saying, “We’re gonna win the Super Bowl! We’re gonna win the Super Bowl!”
I would not have had that experience if I went to Minnesota. To me, at this moment of time in my life, there’s getting married to my wife, there’s the birth of my two boys, and there’s Sunday. This is a win for the Philadelphia Eagles as a team and organization. But as a community and as a city, this is something that nobody will ever be able to take away. Nobody will ever be able to take away where we were that night and who we were with.
— As Told To Lizzy Francis